During the current spring meeting of the Catholics Bishops of the United States in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the Bishops spoke strongly against the current separation of children from their parents at the border, as well as the absolute denial of people seeking asylum under certain categories (such as victims of domestic violence).
Cardinal DiNardo, President of the Bishop’s Conference, issued the statement below after addressing his fellow bishops. A report I read stated that the Bishops expressed their support with a thunderous applause.
What is currently happening at the border with the denial of asylum and separation of children is an issue of human rights. The fact that someone crosses a border without authorization does not strip away their humanity. People cannot hide behind statements such as “they broke the law.” Even those who break the law are human beings and must be treated accordingly.
Here Cardinal DiNardo’s statement:
“At its core, asylum is an instrument to preserve the right to life. The Attorney General’s recent decision elicits deep concern because it potentially strips asylum from many women who lack adequate protection. These vulnerable women will now face return to the extreme dangers of domestic violence in their home country. This decision negates decades of precedents that have provided protection to women fleeing domestic violence. Unless overturned, the decision will erode the capacity of asylum to save lives, particularly in cases that involve asylum seekers who are persecuted by private actors. We urge courts and policy makers to respect and enhance, not erode, the potential of our asylum system to preserve and protect the right to life.
Additionally, I join Bishop Joe Vásquez, Chairman of USCCB’s Committee on Migration, in condemning the continued use of family separation at the U.S./Mexico border as an implementation of the Administration’s zero tolerance policy. Our government has the discretion in our laws to ensure that young children are not separated from their parents and exposed to irreparable harm and trauma. Families are the foundational element of our society and they must be able to stay together. While protecting our borders is important, we can and must do better as a government, and as a society, to find other ways to ensure that safety. Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral.”